More than half of Mumbai slum-dwellers have COVID-19, a new survey finds

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More than half of Mumbai slum-dwellers have COVID-19, a new survey finds - We The World Magazine
Image courtesy of Alfarnas Solkar via Unsplash

A new survey has found more than half of the residents in three major Mumbai slums have coronavirus antibodies. The findings echo a similar finding in Delhi that stated 1 in every 4 residents had COVID-19.

Jointly undertaken by the Mumbai municipality, Niti Aayog, and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, the survey randomly tested 7k people from three slums in Mumbai – Matunga, Dahisar, and Chembur.

Findings revealed 57% people in the slum areas were exposed to the novel virus.

On the contrary, only 16% of the people tested outside the three slums located in central, western, and eastern Mumbai, were found to be exposed to the infection.

Some 1.5 million people live together in huddled conditions in the three Mumbai slum mentioned above, the BBC reports.

“The three areas we chose for the tests had a varying number of reported coronavirus infections, and they were a mix of slums and stand-alone houses and housing complexes,” Dr. Ullas S. Kolthur of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) told the BBC, who was involved in the survey.

Scientists believe the chosen location is statistically robust and representative. “The idea was to see whether population density was driving changes in the prevalence of infection,” Dr. Kolthur said.

It must be noted that the scientists did not claim the representation of the slum reflects the whole of Mumbai but said: “the prevalence rate in other areas should not be terribly far away from the numbers in the survey.”

For this survey, only 24-wards of India’s financial capital were tested. Mumbai has a total population of 1.84 crores, while Maharashtra at large has 11.42 crores as per 2011 census.

More than half of Mumbai slum-dwellers have COVID-19, a new survey finds

The BBC noted, city-wide surveys in other big cities like London and New York reported a huge number of infections. In the case of London, 1 in every 6 residents tested +ve for the virus, in the case of New York, 1 in 5.

Similarly, in New Delhi, India’s capital, a survey found 1 in every 4 tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

On June end, the CDC claimed America’s infections is 10X of what is recorded; “Our best estimate right now is that for every case that’s reported, there actually are 10 other infections,” Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC said.

“The results showed how crowding plays a key role in the spread of the infection,” Dr Juneja from TIFR told the BBC.

Maharashtra is one of Inda’s worst-hit states with the novel coronavirus. The state has recorded a total of 384k infections. however, in the past few days, fresh cases have receded.

Mumbai, the state capital and also one of India’s biggest metropolis reported 717 new infections on tuesday, a least as compared to the past three months.

Following Mumbai’s record-low infections, the survey result has also raised questions if Mumbai is approaching herd immunity. Herd immunity is when a location has recorded enough infections and people become immune to the virus.

The survey is scheduled to be repeated in the same areas in August to cross-confirm the prevalence of the disease in the city and “trajectory of Covid-19 in the city.”